Video Game / Space Quest V: The Next Mutation

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Space Quest V: The Next Mutation (also simply known as Space Quest V) is the fifth game in the Space Quest series, released in 1993. Roger returns to Xenon after his previous adventure, and decides to finally pursue his dream of becoming a space captain. He manages to graduate from the StarCon academy thanks to a combination of cheating on his aptitude test coupled with a serendipitous computer glitch, and is given his first command: The SCS Eureka, a garbage scow.

While collecting garbage around the galaxy, Roger and his new crew manage to stumble onto an illegal garbage-dumping conspiracy. They are eventually tasked with stopping a mutagenic disease that resulted from this illegal dumping, which to their dismay has infected the SCS Goliath - StarCon's flagship - commanded by Roger's new rival and nemesis, Captain Quirk. To further compound his problems, Roger's love life is thrown into chaos when he meets Beatrice, the woman whom he learned in Space Quest IV will give birth to his son.

This is the first game in the series not to be designed by both "Guys from Andromeda", only Mark Crowe was involved. It was also the only Space Quest game to not be developed in-house by Sierra, but by it's sister company Dynamix, where Crowe was relocated shortly after the release of Space Quest IV. A voiced CD version of the game was planned, but was ultimately shuttered as the developers were undergoing financial difficulties at the time and the decision was made to focus entirely on new games rather than upgraded versions of preexisting games.

This video game provides examples of:

  • Apocalypse How: Has characteristics of a Class 3a (by virtue of being human-engineered and making humans its first most prominent victims), and the potential to go up to a Class 6 (albeit spread across multiple planets, and potentially the whole galaxy if let loose), given the effects of Primordial Soup on any lifeform.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Two examples of it. One on Klorox II, and one in the Genetix dome relating in full detail how the Pukoid infection came into being.
  • The Ahnold: The sister of Arnoid the Annihilator is now pursuing Roger for the same reason that Arnoid had in Space Quest III. Despite being female, she acts the same as Arnoid.
  • A Father to His Men: Say what you will about Wilco being an Idiot Hero. He will go to incredible lengths to save his crew, namely his chief engineer. Twice.
  • Banana in the Tailpipe: How Roger finally disables the gynoid.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Once you deactivate the shields on the Goliath, W-D40 storms the ship in time to freeze the Pukoid crew and save Wilco.
  • Blob Monster: The climax has the mutated Captain Quirk piloting his shuttle inside the mass of discarded Pukoid material, merging with it and gaining sentience.
  • Body Horror: People infected by the Pukoid mutation don't look great to say the least.
    • Let's not even get started with the Quirkoid blob.
  • Bridge Bunnies: Flo is a subversion of one. Instead of an attractive twentysomething lady, Flo appears to be in her late forties (who knows how old she really is, as she is an alien... with green skin, as it happens) and her countless failed marriages have turned her into a bitter old crone...who nevertheless starts flirting with you once the crew starts warming up to Roger.
  • Butterfly of Doom: Thanks to time recursion, if Bea dies, Roger Wilco ceases to exist because it results in the breaking of the Stable Time Loop where Roger Wilco Jr, Roger's Kid from the Future, would have went back in time to save Roger Wilco Sr. from the Sequel Police. If Bea ceases to exist, so does Roger Wilco Jr, which means so does Roger Wilco Sr.
  • Chekhov's Gun: During the StarCon Aptitude Test, one of the questions describes the encounter with W-D40 later in the game, and the correct multiple-choice answer describes how you will actually need to defeat her during that encounter.
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: Roger ends up hanging from a cliff with Beatrice clinging to his belt. If you don't help her up fast enough, Roger's pants slide down, revealing polka-dot boxers.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Genetix people.
  • The Corruption: The Pukoid infection.
  • Cryonics Failure: Failing to freeze or defrost Beatrice exactly according to the instructions on the cryopod's control panel will kill her.
  • Darker and Edgier: This installment is surprisingly dark for a comedic sci-fi series. A lot more is at risk as the Pukoid infection wreaks havoc on anybody physically and mentally. Not to mention that Roger is dealing with three plots that put his very life at stake and it's treated seriously.
  • Daydream Surprise: The game begins with Roger bravely commanding a StarCon military vessel in pitched battle... Which is soon interrupted by Admiral Quark, who chews him out for playing in the training simulator when he should be in class.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Happens to everyone infected by the Pukoids. Especially visible with Quirk.
  • Dying as Yourself: Happens on Klorox II, where a Pukoid-infected colonist is fatally shot by Droole. In his dying moments, he thanks Roger and Droole for putting him out of his misery.
  • Elvis Lives: Averted in the Galactic Inquirer "Elvis Watch" article, when an Elvis siting turns out to be an outrageous Monolith Burger promotion for their new Banana Sandwich Combo.
  • Explosive Breeder: The Space Monkeys when mixed with alcohol.
  • Expy:
    • Captain Quirk is obviously an evil parody of the original Captain Kirk.
    • Spike is clearly a pet Facehugger, complete with inappropriate facial affection and acidic spit.
  • Fungus Humongous: So humongous that they make up the entirety of planet Tharkus' terrain.
  • Funny Background Event: Wander around the halls at StarCon Academy, and you'll eventually get to see Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi having a duel in a far-away corridor.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: The Primordial Soup project was originally meant to create a terraforming bacteria to feed off the noxious elements of a planet and generate oxigen, water and everything else. However, it soon devolved into a mutating virus that turns everyone into violent, grotesque mutants bent on infecting everyone.
  • Homage: To 2001: A Space Odyssey when Roger heads out in an EVA pod to retrieve Cliffy.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: If you take Beatrice out of the cryopod without defrosting her first, she crumbles in Roger's hands.
  • Meaningful Background Event: In the station, you can spot Captain Quirk meeting the suspicious alien from the call you received earlier on mission.
  • Mini-Game: At the Space Bar, Roger must play a match of space-themed Battleship against Captain Quirk in order to advance the plot. And you have to win the game without losing a single ship in order to get the Last Lousy Point.
  • Oddball in the Series: Although it uses Sierra's then standard SCI scripting language, the game was mostly programmed by sister company Dynamix, and thus it exhibits a few quirks, a very different style, and sense of humour to the rest of the Space Quest series.
  • One-Winged Angel: Sort of, the Pukoid Captain Quirk, rather than being cured, drives his escape shuttle into the massive blob of Pukoid material floating in space, merging with it and turning it into a massive, hostile being that tries to .
  • Percussive Maintenance: Seems to be Cliffy's preferred method of maintenance, since he can be seen doing it repeatedly in various places around the ship. Additionally, when he goes out on EVA to fix the ship after the battle in the asteroid field, the sound-effects make it clear that he is simply banging on the hull with a hammer.
  • Plot-Driven Breakdown: Several, although given that Roger's ship is a crummy garbage collecting vessel held together with chewing gum and prayer, it makes sense at least.
  • Product Placement: The Sprint logo in communication transmissions. Not so surprising since Next Mutation was one of several Sierra games people could get as a reward for signing up for service.
  • Punny Name: Several of the planets in the game have these. Tying with the theme of the game and series, several of them are related to garbage, cleaning, and diseases.
    • Gingivitis, in the Halitosis star system.
    • Klorox II (a reference to Clorox bleach).
    • Monostadt VII (a reference to Monistat 7, a yeast infection remedy).
    • Commodore LXIV.
    • Peeyu - a stinker of a planet.
    • Kiz Urazgubi, where Roger has to confront the Terminatrix.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Eureka's Crew. Droole is there because of a screw-up that resulted in him destroying one of StarCon's robotic freighters. Flo didn't see "eye-to-eye-to-eye" with her former captain, so she transferred to the Eureka, and may or may not be responsible for the death of the Eureka's former captain. W-D40 was reprogrammed by Cliffy into serving as the Eureka's science officer. Roger was assigned as the Eureka's captain because Captain Quirk has it out for him. Cliffy seems to be the only crew member who's on the Eureka willingly. Droole mentions that an assignment to the Eureka is either because "you screwed up really bad or someone has it out for you."
  • Red Shirt: Roger wears this when he becomes captain, which gets constantly lampshaded. Cleverly, there are ways you can lose before you become captain, but none of them result in Roger dying. Once he wears the shirt, the game goes all out on letting Roger Have a Nice Death.
  • Retraux: In the Eureka's maintenance tunnel, you can pull a fuse that will change the graphics to EGA (Space Quest III) style. It only works in the maintenance tunnel, though, since Roger replaces any removed fuses when he leaves.
  • Reverse Polarity: The line is present in the test at the beginning of the game, where one would think it was a Star Trek Shout-Out, and it actually becomes a Chekhov's Gun near the end, as it is how Cliffy rewires the transporter of the Eureka to save Beatrice. He then goes to do the same on the Goliath to transport all pukoid materials into outer space.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: The SCS Eureka is equipped with one of these. It gets to be used.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Thus Spoke Zarathustra is played each time the SCS Eureka collects some space trash, coupled with a short cutscene of a sun rising behind a planet, its light revealing a gigantic garbage bag floating gracefully out in space.
    • Twofer: A transporter accident causes Roger to exchange heads with a fly.
    • The Pukoids use Super Soakers to shoot Primordial Soup at prospected targets.
    • Some characters yell out a "D'oh!" when they mess up.
  • Space Cadet Academy: The Starcon Academy.
  • Stealth in Space: W-D40's spacecraft has a stealth mode which becomes a plot point.
  • Stealth Pun: Not terribly stealthy, but the SCS Eureka's self-destruct countdown mechanism is shaped like an egg. It's an egg timer.
  • Take That Me: The biochemical company that developed the Primordial Soup (and dumped it illegally) is called Genetix, and even has a similar logo to the company that developed Space Quest V, Dynamix.
  • Temporal Paradox: Letting Beatrice croak, as mentioned above. "But she didn't, so he couldn't, therefore you aren't."
  • The Federation: StarCon. A quite incompetent and corruption-ridden one.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock:
    • If anything goes wrong during the StarCon Academy segment of the game, Roger gets "flushed" out of the Academy in an escape pod.
    • It's also possible to get sucked out of the Airlock on the Eureka if you stupidly push the button to open it.
  • Torpedo Tits: The assassin droid W-D40.
  • Unwinnable Training Simulation: Shown in the opening cut-scene much to Roger's dismay.
  • Vehicular Sabotage:
    • Performed by Beatrice on the SCS Goliath to prevent it from warping away and infecting the whole galaxy. Roger has to put back the cap on the warp drive in order to escape the explosion of the SCS Eureka.
    • Roger also does a bit of sabotage, bringing down the shields to allow W-D40 to warp in.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Pukoid mutation spread fast and has no known antidotes, but extreme cold does stops the mutation or paralyze any mutant. Halfway through, Roger finds out that the warp beam can separate the victim from the pukoid material, which is used to cure Beatrice and the Goliath crewmen.

Alternative Title(s): Space Quest V

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